I went to see an Orthopedist today. I explained to her about my fifteen month bout with plantar fasciitis, and that avoiding a repetition of that experience. I said something to the effect of "I'd rather spend a month in a cast right now, if at the end of that month I can be active without worrying about re-injury, than do half-measures, then get re-injured as soon as I get active again because it didn't really heal." I also explained that my ability to stay off my feet is limited by my having gone car free.
Her response was that for my diagnosis (peritendinitis, inflammation of the sheath around the achilles tendon, rather than of the tendon itself), immobilization is probably the best treatment, but "most patients aren't willing to deal with the inconvenience. At least not until the second or third occurrence."
So my options are:
1: Limit my walking as much as possible for six weeks, wearing a heel-lift all the while to keep my achilles tendon from going to full extension, at the end of which it's a coinflip whether I'm better or not.
2: Wear what essentially amounts to a walking cast for six weeks, preventing me from putting pretty much any strain on the affected area, with a high likelihood of complete recovery at the end.
Especially given that so far three weeks of limiting my activity without immobilization has only made it worse, I found that an easy call to make Not that I'm happy to be wearing this ... apparatus. Nor with the cramp it's going to put in my plans. But I remember how depressed I was this time last year, in the middle of what then seemed like an infinite loop of therapy, apparent recovery, and re-injury with my plantar fasciitis. And six weeks in a cast sure as hell beats that.
So. That's it for my pissing and moaning. Now to get on with life.
(I've even already found ... well, not exactly a silver lining, at least an amelioration: The only aerobic exercise the doctor could think of that wouldn't be completely out of the question was stationary bicycle. Which is not something I have ready access to. But while I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself, it occurred to me that I might be able to use the rowing machine one-legged. I just tried it, and indeed, I can rest the cast on the floor and do all the work with my left leg. I'm sure there'll be some issues with the asymmetry, but I reckon I should at least be able to keep the cardiovascular conditioning I've done since May from totally falling apart while I'm wearing this thing.)
There's an old story about a little boy, who one Christmas morning went out to the barn with his father before breakfast to do the morning chores, as they did every day. On entering the barn, the boy saw a good sized pile of manure, and started dancing for joy.
"What are you so happy about, son?"
"With all this shit, daddy, there has to be a pony here somewhere!"